Last week, the AAA auto club released a study that was WRONG. It claimed that drivers talking on cell phones are not nearly as dangerous as most of us instinctively and empirically know them to be. According to the study of 70 (oh, wow!) drivers, talking on the phone is well down on the list of distractions that drivers impose upon themselves, behind such things as changing the radio station, taking a bite of food or picking something up off the seat.
I can understand the AAA (now that they're apparently a wholly-owned subsidiary of the cell-phone industry) ignoring the scientific method and fudging the findings, but how does one explain the fact that all the morons in national and local TV just read the handout as it was given to them, not recognizing and then pointing out the obvious flaws?
First of all, 70 drivers does not a representative sample make. But the big thing is that each phone call counted as one distraction. They could have been on the phone, endangering the lives of others, for 15 minutes, and it counted the same as changing the radio, which takes a second or two. And the entire time they're on the phone, they're driving with one hand, their field of vision is diminished and their focus is impaired. But we're supposed to believe that taking a bite of a candy bar is far more dangerous. Yeah, right.
It's WRONG that the New York City School system is going to have a separate high school for gay and lesbian kids this fall. It's like graffiti on a freeway overpass--no matter how you look at it, it's stupid.
Religious fundamentalists believe that homosexuality is some kind of lifestyle choice. If that were the case, then this plan would be tantamount to setting up a school just for jocks or one for potheads. However, most believe that homosexuality is biological in origin and, therefore, this is like having a school just for Asians or for tall people or for redheads.
A school district spokesman said that the school will eliminate the bullying problem that some of these kids face. That's WRONG in many different ways. First off, is that how we deal with bullies? Remove the victims but leave the bullies in place? Does anybody understand that if the bully no longer has the gay kid to pick on, he'll start picking on the Hispanic kid or the short kid or the green-eyed kid? The only way to deal with a bully is to deal with the bully.
If that cockeyed logic were the norm, the United States should have removed everybody from Iraq and just left the empty country to Saddam and his sons. (Insert your own George W. Bush punch line here.)
Finally, who's to say that some gay kids won't get bullied at the new high school? What, gay kids can't be bullies, too?
This is a dumb, dumb idea.
It's WRONG to give your kid a name that is going to get him/her beat up or laughed at all through the formative years of that child's life.
Readers of this column know that my No. 1, industrial-strength pet peeve is butthole parents who slap stupid names on their kids. You know the kinds of names of which I speak--Harmony, James-on, LaTanikia (three actual names that I read in the sports page last week).
Well, last week, things hit rock bottom. There was another one of those pathetic pairs of people on the Maury Povich Show who were apparently in collective heat one night and accidentally created a human life that has about a 4 percent chance of turning out well. The guy's name was El Camino and the woman's name was Turquoisa (pronounced Tur-kwoy-suh). Naturally, he's unemployed and doesn't think he's the father, and she, having narrowed the possible paternity matches down to three or four, is proclaiming that she's not a ho.
Anyway, they had created a female child and had given that poor child a two-part name. The first part was Tia, you know, like the Spanish word for "aunt" or like Tia Carrere. That's not bad. But then, in one of the most incredible acts of cruelty I've ever come across, they gave that child as the second part of her name this monstrosity: Wanna. Say it slowly and then faster.
How is the mom going to explain that when the kid gets older? "Yeah, your biological father, whom I haven't seen since the taping of that TV show, was named for the piece of sh-t car that Adam Sandler used to sing about, and my name is a bastardization (mispronounced and misspelled) of a type of mineral found in the American Southwest, but we saved the best for you. Because I wanted you to have every opportunity to succeed in life, I had you out of wedlock with a guy I knew wouldn't stick around, and then I named you for the biggest cesspool in North America. And, in keeping with family tradition, I badly misspelled it. Good luck."
Makes me wanna holler, throw up both my hands. (Hey, there's a proper usage for the term "wanna.")
Finally, last week on Channel 13 news, there was this brief feature on some local woman who's going to be in one of those fitness contests that they show on ESPN 2 at 4 in the morning. You know, the kind where each woman comes out and does an aerobics routine (with an announcer breathlessly intoning, "Her enthusiasm is high!"), and then they have the evening gown competition, where they all come out looking like LL Cool J in a prom dress.
Anyway, this woman's name was (ahem) Merry Bracero. Does she realize that that means Jovial Migrant Farm Worker, circa 1964?
That's just WRONG.